Archive for May, 2013

Getting some b/r/s in the swim/bike/run/row/ swim rotation this week and three of those were solid runs!  The running is hovering between the

Watching the kids have fun!

Watching the kids have fun!

3:45 – 3:55 training paces in RW’s Run Less, Run faster. Tempo run with the pup (Heidi), track workout of only  4 x  800’s made challenging by 2 minute compressed rest (Joel, Mary and Sherri) and an adventurous rainy Saturday morning run (with a few monsoon rains and dodging lightning) with Heidi and Michelle!

Got in the water just a bit at Meadowlane Pool as the season opens (water was cool but felt great).  A strength preview of Strong Lifts at the Y and first ride in “clip shoes” on newly tuned up Trek Alpha capped the weekend.

Activity Distribution Report for coachdavek
 Activity Type Count Distance Time Elevation Gain Avg Speed Avg HR
 Running 4 25.4 4:05:35 461 6.2 152
 Swimming 2 0.19 6:00
 Cycling 1 14.22 1:16:37 324 11.1 116
 Strength Training 1 12:00
 Summary 8 39.8 5:40:12 785 7.4 135

Do you go to extremes to get fit?

Posted: May 22, 2013 by Dave Kohrell in Triathlons

Balanced discussion of P90x, Insanity, CrossFit, Marathon with targeted strength training – helps highlight the differences without taking shots at one or the other.

Since I’m using Runner’s World Run Less, Run Faster as a guide for 16 weeks (actually 18 since there will be a break for the Pikes Peak Double in August), thought it would be good to use the next series of “serial” blog posts counting down like RLRF (how I abbreviate for Garmin workouts).   Focus last week was aerobic base building – run and bike.

My 3 key running workouts were

  1. Speed – 3 x 1 miles at East High Track on Thursday night (7:12, 7:28, 7:33).
  2. Long – 13.1 (1/2 marathon) in 2:03 on Saturday morning.
  3. Tempo – 2 miles in 16.28 – 8:13 pace on Sunday morning.

Those workouts point to a 3:45 – 3:55ish Marathon.

Activity Distribution Report for coachdavek
 Activity Type Count Distance Time Elevation Gain Avg Speed Avg HR
 Running 8 20.52 3:14:23 556 6.3 144
 Cycling 3 10.38 1:07:11 208 9.3
 Strength Training 1 3:00
 Summary 12 30.9 4:24:35 764 7.1 144

Death by Prowler.

Have been exploring alternatives for metcon/chipper work to balance out s/b/r (swim/bike/run) and structured Olympic lifting training.  Need to get my hands on this.  The concern with high rep barbell training is form breakdown.  The run/bike/row repeats (200,400,800 meters, mile) with body-strength and appropriate loaded weight (kettlebell at 35-52lbs) have been great for me.  At times I’ve questioned the wisdom of same with OHS, Cleans, Snatches where I’m still mastering the form.

Darndest drill - looks nasty

This statement on page 3 of by Matt Reynolds and Stef Bradford’s article struck a nerve, chord with me – in a good way.

It would be irresponsible of me to fail to note that the Prowler can be effectively used and programmed for regular people, non-competitors active in a strength program but who want to work for “metabolic conditioning.” I believe that “metcon” work with the Prowler is far superior to that performed with barbells (using strength exercises, or even worse, Olympic lifts), because the point of the exercise is to appropriately condition the metabolic processes without the systemic inflammation, muscular microtrauma, and CNS frying of the typical Crossfit “metcon” workouts. This can be done efficiently and effectively with the Prowler, since you literally cannot use bad technique – as opposed to barbell-based “metcon” where form breakdown with ultra-high reps leads to a relearning of incorrect motor patterns, as well as a highly increased chance of injury from performing barbell movements under extreme fatigue. Be smart. If you want to do “metabolic conditioning,” then condition the metabolic processes. Don’t destroy your body with mindless high-rep barbell movements using horrific form.

Another CFE Attack

Posted: May 17, 2013 by Dave Kohrell in Triathlons

Posting my own assessment regarding CrossFit / CrossFit Endurance. I’ve personally benefited quite a bit from CF/CFE programming since 2010. There’s a lot of flexibility in how to apply. T. J. provides a thoughtful response to a recent criticism of CFE.

Still coming off the high and the low of my 25th Marathon – almost at 50 total ultra (1), mara (25) and 1/2s (19) since 1994.

As shared last week in the Lincoln Marathon Recap  the 4:28 was the 7th out of 9 for Lincoln marathon times.  It was better than 2006 and 2009, close to 2003 but slower than the 90s and 2010/11.  The last Lincoln in 2011 was (4:00:16) which, while not all time marathon PR best in terms of distance from Boston Qualifier.  That gap,  gives a concrete “how far away” am I assessment.  In 1996 the qualifying standard for a 31-year-old male was 3:05 – so 50 minutes off.  In 2011 the standard for a 46-year-old male was 3:30 – so 30 minutes off (before that dratted 2012 change).

So, as you can see I’m not a BQ type guy.  As I shared on other posts I’m a grinder, mid-packer and occasional trophy sniffer.  I tore through my body through years of ho-hum endurance training (enjoying it a lot when healthy) and discovered structured, progressive, random strength programming in late 2009.  The results of STRENGTH + ENDURANCE = PRs.  And perhaps a long shot with a perfect storm of a BQ.

If I was closer in 2011, what happened?  Two things –

  1. in 2012 I was disconnected from a CrossFit box and structured programming.  There’s a raging debate on the blog-o-sphere and web land about how structured that programming is.  I’ve benefited from some great training at three different boxes and structure (so Black Box and Starting Strength programming to level out the ‘randomness’).
  2. feeling a tad weak after high mileage December, decided to get my strength swag back (haha) and along the way jumped into CrossFit Open Games.  I completed all 5 WODs at Rx (barely) during a cruddy Spring for running.  Also I did not appreciate the maximal muscle stuff needed to pull off the 5 weeks of the CrossFit Open.  It would put me at a max rep strength on each WOD (not 70% like most Master Males, 45-49).  So there were four weeks of “run more than 5 miles or do hills, rigghhhht, no!” Mistake? Not really, would do again in a heart beat.  It was fun.  Plus while slower than 2010-2012 marathons it was faster by 5 minutes than my max aerobic driven 2009 Lincoln Marathon and felt incredible the day after.  Oh and no injuries!  There’s much more to fitness than what happens on 26.2 miles!  Still if your dream is a killer 26.2 then that leads to the next big bullet line –

So what?  What are you going do now?

Three  things

  1. ENDURANCE. Understand there ain’t no thing as a free lunch as Mark Twight said.  He’s the guy who trained the Movie 300 shredded Spartans at Gym Jones but I can’t get his report for free but know it’s there.  I’m ramping up a mix of speed, stamina and endurance work.  I still value CrossFit Endurance (lots of hate out there in the endurance only community). Come-on ectomorph brothers and sisters, I was once was like you.  But strength is good.  We’re all learning. Jason Fitzgerald and Strength Running is none too happy with it!     Get you head spinning and read the honorable response by TJ Murphy – a high enduro refugee.I’m forgoing CrossFit Endurance and following the FIRST’s Run Less, Run Faster from Runner’s World (RLRF).  It’s a nice 3 running workout plan each week – so tempo, speed and long run.  I leveraged part of this (from Week 8) jumping in with a friend, Amy Uhlmann, who nailed her BQ at Des Moines in October 2012.  On her second marathon.  Freak! 🙂
  2. STRENGTH.  Will strip away some of the intense chipper and limit my AMRAPs.  I need time and recovery for an aggressive swim/bike/run (s/b/r) schedule. Metcons are not suitable substitutions – they have their place.  I’ve learned that let the high intensity intervals stand on their own (whether in the pool, on a bike or running on a trail).  I’ll head back to the Y for some work following a lighter version of Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength, punch card at CrossFit and take my strength on the road within the RLRF speed.  I’m forgoing some exercises for now – sumo deadlift high pulls, box jumps (steps instead) and snatches while focusing on squats, strict pull ups, squats, bench, squats, push ups, squats, swings, squats, lunges, squats-thrusters, toes-to-bar, squats – see trend.  SQUATs, loaded, unloaded, my life!
  3. OTHER. Kick in the s/b of the s/b/r – have great swim and bike workouts ready. On those 105 degree days, a pool or bike beats the foot path!

I’m scribing my results daily at Garmin Connect (feel free to connect) and will summarize here and for group stuff on my favorite local group – Freaky Fast Runners.


Details of training, with anchors for Marathon, 5 mile and 10k are shared in the table below.   Think about doing the same for yourself. Include similar races, same course each year. It helps a ton in giving you an apples to apples comparison of the only contest that matters – you against yourself and time (real and father).  One of the things I haven’t appreciated in the mood swings and debates on strength/endurance/combo or right “approach” is lack of transparency.

and here  “type in Kohrell, D”

with this summary below – ok this very detailed table screaming for 15 pie charts – below – double click on the “jpg” and it will expand!

If I were making this up the times would be MUCH faster!

If I were making this up the times would be MUCH faster!



The Science of Strength

Posted: May 13, 2013 by Dave Kohrell in Crossfit, Marathons
Tags: , , ,

Have been reviewing and dissecting the approach of Joe Vennare and his brother since Joe “favorited” my Twitter Tweet “post Lincoln Marathon WOD – Fight Gone Bad”.  I really am impressed by their balance approach to strength and endurance!  Power of social media.  Some nice, simple vids on their site as well and good mixed WODs (run/kettlebell/body strength)


The Science of Strength.

“Not so fast my friend on your Moment of Truth blog post”! Never thought I’d quote Lee Corso.  Well it snowed on May 1 and KC Royals are 1st.

Always good to finish!

Always good to finish!

Maybe the Mayans we’re just slightly off?

4:28 (10:06 mile pace) versus 4:00 (9:06) – not a good trade between the Lincoln Marathon 2013 and 2011 versions.  The weather may have been a tad chillier today, wind stiffer, but still a noticeable add.  On the positive side this was the 7th of 9 Lincoln Marathons – better than 2009/06 and close to 03.

Here’s the Garmin Notes and Quick Assessment.

Finished! After last year’s ducking at the 1/2 due to heat and obsession with time, focused on just finishing. 2:06 front half, 2:22 back. Rain held off, but cool low 40s day with a stiff N/NW wind. Felt it the most mile 21-24 until we hit the trail again. Quite a bit off PR of 2011 (4:00), better than 09 and 06. Close to 03.

Off the ‘golden years’ of 94-96. I’ll take it!

Quick comparison to 2011 programming.

  • Same intensity on CrossFit (probably more) and better swimming. I jumped into the CrossFit Games Open – intense 5 weeks of WODs close to my maximum strength or beyond.  Sort of zapped some of that March running ramp up.  I’d do again in a heart beat and will next year, with the added benefit of continued strength.
  • Not nearly as much Track or Hill work.  This likely loomed much larger than I thought or gave credit.  The endless Winter sort of sucked out the momentum or time to crank out serious speed sessions at our track places (East or Northeast).  Good swimming practices in January – February supplemented, but missed that critical 7-8 weeks from late February to late April.  Ditto on serious hill work.  Is that anaerobic work beneficial for marathons? The debate continues.  It’s spot on for 90 minutes or less (especially 5-10k)!
  • Volume was 253 to 383 or 130 less (17 per week versus 26). I’m not a mileage hog but some quality volume is needed, even on the 3 per week approach from Hanson’s Approach or Runner World’s Run Less.
  • 2011 Weight was 166, 2013 was 168 – a wash (2002-08 was 178-180s).  Could see what a skinny model weight might do?
  • Last Fall before the 4:11 repeat at Des Moines (w/in 21 seconds of 2010), running volume much higher, intensity higher, strength training was much less last Fall (2 days compared to 4 per week).
  • I’m in good shape for 1/2 to below and feel fine now – just ran with my most faithful training partner – Heidi (dogs are so loyal!)

So what?  Scrap approaches, punt or be happy?  I’ll go with door #4 – tweak a bit.  Continue the strength intensity and bring back the volume and intensity of running – back to the 3 intense runs a week and equivalent aerobic (swim/spin/bike) on 1-2 other days. The strength saved me today but could not overcome the lack of volume. And be happy!  Not many people bite off a marathon on 17 miles of running a week.

Lincoln Marathon 2013 by coachdavek at Garmin Connect – Details.

The last sixteen weeks have included an intense cycle of swimming (Jan-Mar) and CrossFit (Jan-end of April).  Time spent for those two almost equals running time.  Of 92 hours working out since the glistening on a new year, 50 were spent on something other than running.  Additionally about an 1/8th of Lincoln Marathon preparation has been spent on other activities – rowing, cycling, hiking (snow shoveling and camping) and walking.


CrossFit Games 13.5 – Fran, yet even nastier than her normal bad self!

Tomorrow is the moment of truth.  This sixteen weeks has been most similar to my 2011 Lincoln Marathon preparation.  Differences this time – more strength training (CrossFit Starting Strength and WODs for CrossFit Games Open) and less speed work on the track (Spring that was more like a Winter!).  I hope the results are similar to 2011’s 4:00:16, maybe even a shade faster!

Activity Distribution Report for coachdavek
2013 – 16 weeks – 1/1 to 5/4
 Activity Type Count Distance Time Avg HR
 Running 104 253.5 42:58:07 146
 CrossFit 74 0.2 20:39:57 113
 Lap Swimming 22 22.13 14:28:42
 Rowing 21 12.67 1:42:26
 Walking 15 14.31 4:34:30 120
 Hiking 10 7.42 3:37:28 107
 Cycling 7 16.44 2:20:37
 Indoor Cycling 6 23.99 1:54:16
 Track Running 1 4.69 43:42
 Summary 260 355.34 92:59:46 141

Some other links
2011 Lincoln Marathon Recap
CrossFit / Anaerobic Training Stuff n Skillz

Shared this in our Freaky Fast Face Group before Lincoln Marathon – 2013.  Very text’y and no pics. Image 🙂

Marathoner / 1/2 marathoners – some tips.
I probably should save this in a text file since I repost something akin to it each year.
1. Grab a cheap poncho, throw away long sleeve t-shirt and gloves. The weather looks like light rain ending by 8am, little chilly, 40’s on Sunday. Should be in 50’s for marathoners and nicer coming back out of Holmes Lake. This is actually good weather. You won’t want to keep the extra gear on – by the time you hit South Street, you all will be warm. ALSO DON’T overdress. We’ve had a longgggggggggggg extended winter/spring. Remember those runs when you overdressed and then left your pants, hats, sports bras at my door leaving me with all sorts of explaining to do!
2. Take some chaps stick – good for chafing. Put on lips (duh), nipples, under arm.
3. Walk through water stations – keep to your right and ease back in gracefully. Sheridan and 48th are packed, but there’s room. Early on adrenaline’s a kicking and you don’t want to slow down. In Lincoln the marathon doesn’t really start til you kiss 70th street good bye and ½ begins on the downhill of 20th. I’ve found it helps a ton to break in some other exercises (easy squats, a lunge, even a push up) at about every 10k. I’m too OCD to try Galloway’s method of run/walk, but there’s some solid science behind it. For anyone over 3 hours on marathon, 1:30 on a half, ensuring you get refueling will more than offset the time to get the fuel. (Joel you can therefore ignore all water stations ;-))
4. Take liquids at each stop but don’t overdo it. Hypernatremia (really means low sodium relative to amount of water) can be as much a problem as Dehydration from 3 hours on. Take the bananas/oranges when offered. GO WITH WHAT YOU Trained with. You know your body
5. Don’t worry about exact pace plans from mile 1-3. This event is quite a bit bigger. It’s actually a good idea to have your first mile the slowest (as the case in my 2011 Lincoln Marathon).
6. Marathon – a couple ibuprofen’s can help at 2 hours – don’t overdo. 2 is enough. Also if sodium is an issue for you (my case with non-existent thyroid) some pretzel sticks in a bag or salt packet sprinkled on the oranges handed out at 10th street help a ton.
7. Sunglasses, hat can help. Store your ipod until after the trail on Highway 2 or at least keep it on low. We don’t want any Freaks looking clueless and not allowing someone to pass (whether that person should pass ya is another story).
8. Marathon – On the Highway 2 trail check your instinct to pick it up to pass a lot
a. Slightly slower 1.75 miles will mean nothing over the course of expended energy for not much gain
b. Sloppy feet, if muddy, ain’t fun
c. Related, don’t weave side to side like the Harlem Shake. Why run 13.7 or 26.9? Look ahead a ¼ mile and make a straight line, keep on that sight line.
9. Have fun! Really, enjoy the day. Embrace it. Marathons and Ultras are difficult to “race”. So just enjoy it
10. Encourage others – we’re all good at that anyway, there’s a powerful psychological and spiritual release when you do. When you’re mind says give up, you still have over an hour of energy at least to go!